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What Is A Stopover Flight?


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Jacquetta Dickinson



When it comes to air travel, most people are accustomed to booking direct flights from point A to point B. However, there is another option that can add a unique twist to your journey: the stopover flight. A stopover flight allows you to break up your trip and spend some time exploring a different city or country before reaching your final destination.


While the concept of a stopover flight may seem unfamiliar to some, it can be a fantastic way to make the most out of your travel experience. Rather than rushing through airports and spending countless hours on layovers, you have the opportunity to turn your layover into a mini-vacation, giving you a chance to discover new places and cultures along the way.


A stopover flight can be an excellent option for travelers who love to explore and are not in a hurry to reach their final destination. Not only does it allow you to visit an additional city or country, but it can also save you money on airfare. So, whether you’re a seasoned traveler looking for a new adventure or a budget-conscious explorer, a stopover flight might be the perfect choice for you.


In this article, we will delve into the world of stopover flights and explore everything you need to know about this unique air travel option. We will discuss what exactly a stopover flight is, the different types of stopover flights available, the benefits of choosing a stopover flight, how to plan your stopover, popular airlines and airports for stopover flights, as well as tips to ensure a smooth stopover experience.


So, if you’re ready to embark on a journey filled with excitement and exploration, let’s dive into the world of stopover flights and discover how you can enhance your air travel experience.


Definition of a Stopover Flight

A stopover flight refers to a layover that extends beyond a specific duration, allowing travelers to spend a considerable amount of time in the layover city before continuing their journey to the final destination. Unlike a regular layover, which is typically just a few hours, a stopover provides an opportunity to explore and experience a new destination.


The duration of a stopover flight can vary depending on the airline’s policies and the traveler’s preferences. It can range from a few hours to several days, giving you ample time to immerse yourself in the local culture, discover popular attractions, or simply relax and rejuvenate before continuing your trip.


It’s important to note that a stopover flight differs from a connecting flight. A connecting flight is a flight with a layover that is usually less than 24 hours and is intended solely to transfer you from one flight to another. In contrast, a stopover flight offers flexibility in terms of how long you can stay in the layover city and explore its offerings.


For example, let’s say you’re traveling from New York to Bangkok, and your flight has a layover in Dubai for 20 hours. If you choose to take advantage of this layover and explore Dubai during those 20 hours, it would be considered a stopover flight. However, if your layover in Dubai was less than 24 hours and you remained in the airport without leaving, it would be classified as a connecting flight.


A stopover flight allows you to add an extra destination to your itinerary, making your journey more dynamic and exciting. It’s an excellent opportunity to see parts of the world that you might not have had the chance to visit otherwise.


Now that we understand the basic definition of a stopover flight, let’s explore the different types of stopover flights and how they can enhance your travel experience.


Types of Stopover Flights

Stopover flights come in different variations, offering travelers various options to customize their travel experience. Let’s explore the different types of stopover flights:

  1. Planned Stopover: This is the most common type of stopover flight, where you intentionally plan a layover in a specific city or country. It allows you to explore the layover destination and break up your journey. This type of stopover gives you the freedom to choose the duration of your layover and make the most of your time in the city.
  2. Scheduled Stopover: Some airlines have specific layover cities built into their routes. This is known as a scheduled stopover. While you don’t have the flexibility to choose the layover city, it provides an opportunity to explore a destination that you might not have considered visiting otherwise. Airlines often highlight these stopover cities as an added perk to attract travelers.
  3. Involuntary Stopover: Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond your control, such as weather conditions or mechanical issues, your flight may be rerouted and you end up with an involuntary stopover. While these unplanned stopovers can be inconvenient, they can also present unexpected opportunities to discover a new city.
  4. Open-Jaw Stopover: An open-jaw stopover involves flying into one city and departing from another, with a stopover in between. This allows you to explore multiple destinations in one trip. For example, you could fly from Los Angeles to Beijing, then have a stopover in Tokyo before returning to Los Angeles. Open-jaw stopovers provide maximum flexibility and the chance to visit different regions or even continents.
  5. Free Stopover: Some airlines offer free stopovers as part of their promotional offers or loyalty programs. These free stopovers allow you to stay in the layover city for a specific duration without incurring any additional airfare costs. It’s an excellent opportunity to add an extra destination to your trip without breaking the bank.

Each type of stopover flight offers its own unique advantages and allows you to tailor your travel experience to suit your preferences. Whether you want to explore a specific destination, visit multiple cities, or take advantage of a promotion, there’s a stopover flight option for everyone.


Next, let’s uncover the benefits of choosing a stopover flight and how it can enhance your overall travel experience.


Benefits of Choosing a Stopover Flight

Opting for a stopover flight can offer a range of benefits that can enhance your travel experience. Here are some compelling reasons to consider choosing a stopover flight:

  1. Explore a New Destination: One of the primary advantages of a stopover flight is the opportunity to explore a new city or country. Instead of spending hours stuck in an airport, you can venture out and experience the local culture, cuisine, and attractions. It’s a chance to add an extra destination to your itinerary and make your journey more rewarding.
  2. Break Up a Long Journey: Long-haul flights can be tiring and overwhelming. A stopover flight allows you to break up your journey, giving you time to rest and rejuvenate before continuing to your final destination. It can help reduce jet lag and make the overall travel experience less exhausting.
  3. Save Money: In some cases, choosing a stopover flight can be more cost-effective than a direct flight. Airlines often offer lower fares for flights with a layover, as they may want to promote specific destinations or attract more travelers. Additionally, with a stopover, you can split your long-haul journey into two shorter flights, potentially saving on airline expenses.
  4. Discover Hidden Gems: Stopover destinations are often less explored by tourists, which means you have the opportunity to discover hidden gems and experience a more authentic local culture. You might stumble upon charming neighborhoods, local markets, or unique traditions that are off the beaten path. It’s a chance to create lasting memories and gain a deeper understanding of different cultures.
  5. Extend Your Vacation: By incorporating a stopover into your travel plans, you effectively extend your vacation. You can add a few extra days in the layover city, allowing you to relax, explore, and make the most of your time away from home. It’s like having a bonus vacation within your main trip.
  6. Upgrade Your Travel Experience: Stopover flights can provide an opportunity to upgrade your travel experience. Some airlines offer premium services, such as complimentary hotel stays, city tours, or access to exclusive lounges, for travelers on stopover flights. This added level of comfort and luxury can make your journey even more enjoyable.

With these benefits in mind, it’s clear that choosing a stopover flight can offer numerous advantages. It allows you to go beyond the typical travel experience and enrich your journey with new destinations, cost savings, and unique cultural encounters.


Now that you understand the benefits, let’s explore how to plan a stopover flight and make the most of this exciting travel opportunity.


How to Plan a Stopover Flight

Planning a stopover flight requires a bit of research and careful consideration to ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience. Here are some steps to help you plan your stopover flight:

  1. Choose Your Stopover Destination: The first step is to decide which city or country you’d like to explore during your layover. Consider your interests, the duration of your layover, and any visa requirements for the layover destination. Research the attractions, culture, and local transportation options to determine if it aligns with your travel preferences.
  2. Find Airlines with Stopover Programs: Many airlines offer stopover programs that provide added benefits and services to travelers. Research airlines that have stopover programs and see if they offer attractive perks such as free hotel stays, discounted tours, or extra baggage allowances. Compare the programs and choose the one that best suits your needs.
  3. Check Visa Requirements: Before finalizing your stopover destination, ensure that you are aware of the visa requirements for that particular country. Some countries may require you to obtain a transit visa or a visitor visa, depending on the duration of your layover. Check the official government websites or consult with the airline to confirm the visa requirements.
  4. Consider Flight Durations: Take into account the duration of your stopover and the overall flight time. Consider how much time you would like to spend in the stopover city and make sure the layover is long enough for your desired activities. Keep in mind that longer layovers provide more opportunities for exploration, but they may also require additional planning and accommodation arrangements.
  5. Book Your Stopover Flight: Once you have decided on the stopover destination, search for flights that allow for a layover in that city. Use online travel platforms or consult with travel agents to find the best options. Consider factors such as cost, flight duration, and departure times to select the most suitable stopover flight for your needs.
  6. Plan Your Itinerary: Once your stopover flight is booked, start planning your itinerary for the layover destination. Research popular attractions, dining options, and cultural activities. Create a flexible schedule that allows you to make the most of your time while also leaving room for relaxation and exploration.
  7. Arrange Accommodation: If your stopover is an overnight stay, you will need to arrange accommodation. Check if the airline offers complimentary hotel stays as part of their stopover program. If not, explore different accommodation options that suit your budget and preferences. Consider staying near the airport for convenience or in a central location to easily access the city’s attractions.
  8. Prepare for Transit: Make sure you have all the necessary documents, such as passports, visas, and flight tickets, readily accessible. Familiarize yourself with the airport layout and terminal, ensuring a smooth transition between flights. Consider any specific requirements for security checks and customs procedures at your stopover airport.

By following these steps and planning ahead, you can make the most of your stopover flight and create a memorable travel experience. Now that you know how to plan your stopover flight, let’s explore popular airlines and airports that offer excellent options for stopovers.


Popular Airlines and Airports for Stopover Flights

Several airlines and airports around the world cater to travelers looking to embark on stopover flights. These destinations often offer excellent services, attractive amenities, and exciting opportunities for exploration during layovers. Here are some popular airlines and airports renowned for their stopover options:


  1. Singapore Airlines: Singapore Airlines is well-known for its stopover program, “Singapore Stopover Holiday.” It offers discounted hotel stays, airport transfers, and complimentary access to over 20 attractions in Singapore for passengers with layovers of at least 24 hours. This program allows travelers to experience the vibrant city-state of Singapore, from its futuristic architecture to its diverse culinary scene.
  2. Emirates: Emirates Airlines offers a “Dubai Stopover” program for passengers with layovers in Dubai. This program provides discounted hotel rates, visa assistance, and complimentary entry to popular attractions in Dubai, such as the Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall. Passengers can also take advantage of Emirates’ complimentary stopover tours to explore the city’s iconic sights.
  3. Icelandair: Icelandair’s “Stopover Buddy” program allows travelers to experience the beauty of Iceland during their layovers. Passengers can choose to have an Icelandair staff member as their personal local guide, showcasing the country’s stunning landscapes, geothermal spas, and unique cultural experiences. This program is a fantastic way to explore the enchanting natural wonders of Iceland.
  4. Qatar Airways: Qatar Airways offers a stopover program called “Discover Qatar” for passengers with layovers in Doha, the capital city of Qatar. With this program, travelers can access discounted hotel rates, city tours, and exclusive transit visas. Doha is known for its modern architecture, traditional Souq Waqif market, and the impressive Museum of Islamic Art.
  5. Turkish Airlines: Turkish Airlines provides a “Touristanbul” program for passengers with layovers in Istanbul. This program offers complimentary tours to explore the historical and cultural attractions of Istanbul, including iconic landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace. Passengers can take advantage of these tours to discover the unique blend of East and West in this vibrant city.


  1. Changi Airport (Singapore): Changi Airport in Singapore is consistently ranked as one of the world’s best airports. It offers a wide array of entertainment options and facilities for travelers, including gardens, movie theaters, and even a rooftop swimming pool. With its convenient location and efficient transportation options, Changi Airport is an excellent choice for a stopover.
  2. Incheon International Airport (Seoul, South Korea): Incheon International Airport is renowned for its modern design and impressive amenities. The airport features a Korean Culture Museum, a spa, an ice-skating rink, and a casino. Incheon’s central location makes it an ideal hub for exploring the vibrant city of Seoul and its rich cultural heritage.
  3. Hamad International Airport (Doha, Qatar): Hamad International Airport in Doha offers an exceptional travel experience with its stunning architecture and luxurious facilities. The airport includes a range of world-class amenities, such as a swimming pool, art installations, and numerous shopping and dining options. Passengers can take advantage of their stopover to explore the vibrant city of Doha.
  4. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (Amsterdam, Netherlands): Schiphol Airport is known for its efficient operations and extensive flight connectivity. The airport offers a variety of services, including a casino, a museum, and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views. Located just a short train ride away from Amsterdam’s city center, it provides easy access to the cultural and historical wonders of the Dutch capital.
  5. Dubai International Airport (Dubai, United Arab Emirates): Dubai International Airport is the world’s busiest airport in terms of international passenger traffic. It boasts luxurious lounges, high-end shopping, and various dining options. With a wide range of facilities and convenient connections to the city, Dubai Airport is an ideal choice for a stopover in the Middle East.

These popular airlines and airports offer outstanding stopover options, allowing travelers to make the most of their layovers by offering unique experiences, attractive amenities, and convenient connections to fascinating destinations. Now, let’s move on to the next section to discover some essential tips for a smooth stopover experience.


Tips for a Smooth Stopover Experience

Planning a stopover flight requires careful consideration and preparation to ensure a seamless and enjoyable travel experience. Here are some essential tips to help you make the most of your stopover:

  1. Check Visa Requirements: Before planning your stopover, research the visa requirements for the layover destination. Ensure that you have the necessary visas or transit permits to enter the country. It’s essential to check the latest visa regulations and any restrictions or exemptions that may apply.
  2. Plan Your Time Wisely: Make a list of the attractions, sites, or experiences you would like to explore during your stopover. Consider the duration of your layover and prioritize the activities that interest you the most. Create a flexible itinerary that allows you to make the most of your time while accounting for unforeseen circumstances.
  3. Consider Airport Transfer Options: Research the transportation options available at the stopover airport. Find out if there are efficient public transportation systems, reliable taxis, or shuttle services that can take you to and from the city center or major attractions. Having a plan for airport transfers will save you time and ensure a smooth transition.
  4. Pack Essentials in Your Carry-On: When packing for your stopover flight, make sure to include essential items in your carry-on bag. Pack a change of clothes, toiletries, medications, and any necessary electronic devices or chargers. Having these essentials with you will ensure that you are prepared and comfortable during your layover.
  5. Stay Hydrated and Rested: Long-haul flights and layovers can be tiring, so make sure to stay hydrated and get proper rest. Drink plenty of water, avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine, and consider bringing a neck pillow or eye mask to help you relax during the flight. Resting well will help you stay energized and make the most of your stopover experience.
  6. Be Mindful of Time: Keep track of the local time and the time difference between your departure and arrival destinations. Adjust your schedule accordingly to avoid missing connecting flights or experiencing jet lag. Set reminders or alarms on your phone to ensure you stay on schedule and don’t miss any important flights or activities.
  7. Take Advantage of Airport Amenities: Many airports offer a wide range of amenities and services to make your layover more enjoyable. Explore the airport facilities, such as lounges, spas, shopping areas, or even fitness centers. Take a stroll, relax, or pamper yourself during your layover to make the most of your time in the airport.
  8. Stay Connected: Make sure you have a reliable means of communication during your stopover. Check if your mobile phone plan covers international roaming or consider purchasing a local SIM card for data and calls. Having internet access will allow you to navigate, research, and stay connected with loved ones during your layover.
  9. Stay Safe and Secure: Like any other travel experience, it’s crucial to prioritize your safety and security during your stopover. Be mindful of your belongings, avoid displaying valuable items, and stay vigilant in crowded areas. Familiarize yourself with local customs and cultural norms to ensure respectful behavior throughout your stay.

By following these tips, you can have a smooth and memorable stopover experience. Planning ahead, staying organized, and embracing the opportunities that your stopover presents will make your journey more enjoyable and rewarding.


Now that you know how to have a smooth stopover experience, let’s conclude our exploration of stopover flights.



Choosing a stopover flight is an excellent way to break up long journeys, explore new destinations, and add a touch of excitement to your travel experience. By opting for a stopover, you have the opportunity to transform a layover into a mini-vacation, allowing you to immerse yourself in the culture, cuisine, and attractions of a new city or country.


In this article, we have explored the definition of a stopover flight and the various types available, from planned stopovers to scheduled and open-jaw stopovers. We discussed the benefits of choosing a stopover flight, such as the chance to explore new destinations, save money, and extend your vacation. Additionally, we provided helpful tips on how to plan, including choosing your stopover destination, checking visa requirements, and making the most of your time during the layover.


We also highlighted popular airlines and airports that offer excellent stopover options, such as Singapore Airlines with its “Singapore Stopover Holiday” and Changi Airport, renowned for its outstanding amenities. Finally, we provided essential tips for a smooth stopover experience, emphasizing the importance of planning, staying hydrated and rested, taking advantage of airport amenities, and prioritizing your safety and security.


So, whether you’re a seasoned traveler looking for a new adventure or a budget-conscious explorer seeking to save money on airfare, consider the unique option of a stopover flight. It allows you to add an extra destination to your itinerary, savor new experiences, and make your journey more rewarding.


Embrace the opportunity to explore the world beyond the airport terminal and uncover hidden gems along the way. With careful planning and a sense of adventure, your stopover flight can become a remarkable and enriching part of your travel memories.